What Are Veneers?
Veneers are shells made of porcelain or composite resin. They are designed to fit over your teeth to improve their smile or appearance. Veneers are sometimes warranted to improve teeth that are stained, chipped, crooked, misshapen, or even gapped. So what is the process for getting veneers?
Veneers Consultation Visit
The first step in the veneers process is setting up a consultation visit with your cosmetic dentist. Discuss your treatment goals and options – including veneers - with your dentist. Your dentist can determine whether your veneers should be created from porcelain or composite resin.
Porcelain veneers are thin shells that are custom-crafted for each tooth. They are made to resemble your natural teeth while not staining easily. Porcelain veneers are also quite strong and durable.
Besides looking like your natural teeth, they don’t require as much tooth enamel removal as the placement of a crown or cap.
A well-maintained set of porcelain veneers can last 10 to 15 years. Veneers are not covered by insurance due to being considered a cosmetic procedure. Porcelain veneers cost ranges from $925 to $2,500 per tooth.
Composite Resin Veneers
Composite resin veneers require less tooth enamel removal than porcelain veneers because they fill material that is bonded directly to the tooth.
A well-maintained set of composite resin veneers will only last five to seven years. Composite veneers are cheaper than porcelain, with average cost ranging from $250 to $1,500 per tooth.
Composite vs Porcelain Veneers
Composite resin veneers will only last five to seven years compared to porcelain which lasts 10-15 years. Composite veneers are cheaper than porcelain, with average cost ranging from $250 to $1,500 per tooth vs $925 to $2,500 for porcelain. When comparing composite veneers vs porcelain veneers, composite veneers include fewer dental visits for placing, and they are fixed faster and more efficiently than porcelain. Composite veneers are not, however, as strong and durable as porcelain.
Preparing for Your Veneers Consultation
To help make sure you get the smile you want, work together with your cosmetic dentist to craft the image of how you want your teeth to look with veneers.
To prepare for your veneers consultation, show your dentist photos of smiles that you find attractive. They could be photos of yourself before tooth damage occurred, photos of friends or family who have attractive smiles, or a celebrity smile that has the right look for you.
This is all valuable information that your dentist needs to not only give you the smile you want but to make sure it is natural-looking.
Choosing the Right Veneers
Patients need to know exactly what they are getting before the veneers are created and adhered to their teeth. Some dentists might show you how the smile will look by creating a life-sized replica of the teeth. They can use wax to demonstrate how the smile will look with the veneers.
Other cosmetic dentists will create replica veneers that can be placed on your teeth. This option provides a better simulation of what your smile will look like with the veneers. Though, these replicas are simply for you to “try on” in your dentist’s office. Your dentists can take photos of you sporting the replica veneers.
Show the photos to family and friends if you’re seeking input as to how you’ll look once the veneers are placed on your teeth. Be sure the veneers will give you a smile you’re satisfied with once they’ve adhered to your teeth.
Preparing Teeth for Veneers
To start, your dentist will probably need to remove some amount of tooth enamel – typically half a millimeter. A dental drill is used to remove the enamel on the front, edges, and possibly the sides of a tooth. The dentist might opt to polish the tooth to smooth it out after removing the necessary enamel. You’ll receive a local anesthetic prior to enamel removal. This will make you comfortable during the procedure.
How are Veneers Created?
Moldings are taken once the teeth have been prepped. You and your dentist will then use a shade guide to determine how to match your natural teeth color as closely as possible.
The next step in the porcelain veneers process is to ship the moldings and shade guide to a lab to create the custom veneers.
The veneers can take a week or two to be shipped back to your dentist from the lab. Until then, your dentist can craft a temporary veneer for you to wear until your next appointment. The temporary veneer is only intended to be worn for a few weeks. Use extreme caution when eating with the temporary veneers. Be careful what you eat – nothing that can crack or break the temporary veneer – and how you chew.
Placing the Veneers
Your next appointment occurs shortly after your veneers return from the lab. Your dentist will check the fit of the veneers along with the color to make sure they match your existing teeth. The next step is preparing your teeth to maximize the adhesion process.
The dentist will clean them thoroughly before roughening the tooth surface. This aids with adhesion. A special cement adheres each veneer to its tooth. Any excess cement is cleaned off the tooth before an ultraviolet light is used to harden the cement.
Your dentist might choose to schedule a follow-up appointment with you a few weeks post-procedure to make sure the veneers are properly placed.
3D Printed Dental Veneers
Thanks to technological advances in the dentistry field, there’s another, albeit newer, option for veneers. Veneers can now be crafted on a 3D dental printer. A 3D dental printer uses new resins along with a ceramic-filled hybrid material to create veneers.
The process of getting 3D printed veneers is significantly faster than porcelain or composite resin. There’s no longer a need to take impressions of your teeth and then send them off to a lab so that the models can be created.
A dentist can use a digital oral scanner and a 3D printer to create the impressions. Then they can print out a replica of your mouth. The 3D veneers can then be printed right there in the dentist’s office. No more lag time waiting for the models to be shipped back from the lab. That eliminates a return appointment for the patient.
A 3D dental printer can create veneers to an extreme level of precision so that you, and your dentist, will be confident that they’ll properly fit your mouth.
Veneer Care Routine
Now that you’ve gone through the dental veneers process it’s time to take care of your new teeth.
The following process for taking care of your dental veneers is simple, yet effective.
- Brush at least twice each day. Try to brush shortly after meals if you can. Consider switching to an electric toothbrush. They are more effective at removing plaque and preventing tartar.
- Floss after you brush. Flossing removes food particles that get stuck in those hard-to-reach spots that your toothbrush can’t get.
- Schedule regular cleanings. Book an appointment with your dentist every six months for a professional cleaning and checkup. A good dentist is your best friend when it comes to keeping your mouth healthy.
- Eat a healthy, nutritious diet. Avoid excess sugars that can cause excess plaque buildup on your teeth.
Avoid biting through any hard foods, especially with the front teeth. This will keep them intact and reduce the risk of breaking or chipping. Discuss with your dentist whether you should wear a mouth guard at night while you sleep if you grind your teeth. Consider a custom athletic mouthguard if you play contact sports.
Find a Veneers Dentist Near Me
Veneers are one treatment method that can help a patient finally achieve the smile they want. Consult your dentist to discuss your questions or concerns about the process of getting veneers. Or, check out The Smile Generation to find a dentist near me for all your oral care needs, including the veneers process. You can read patient reviews, peruse staff bios, and schedule an appointment online with a click of your mouse.